Testosterone is known as the “male” hormone because is is responsible for most things male. During the earliest phase of life, the developing fetus will grow male parts if testosterone levels are high enough, otherwise it will grow female parts, even if it’s genes are male. Similarly, testosterone levels during fetal development will determine what gender the person will identify with later in life regardless of their genetic sex. During early childhood, testosterone drives the rambunctious behavior of boys in contrast to the sweetness of girls. Then along comes puberty and testosterone gets back in the driver’s seat as boys become men, growing body hear, bulking up muscles, and enlarging their sex and reproductive organs. After the surge of puberty, testosterone maintains many aspects of a man’s health including his sexual health, muscle fitness, bone strength, mood, skin tone, blood count, heart health, metabolic health, cancer resistance, and even mental sharpness , and life span. As critical as testosterone is, it is important for men to recognize if they are running low on this critical hormone.
Unfortunately, a relatively large percent of men who are faced with infertility are also suffering from low testosterone. Recent studies demonstrate that at least 30 percent of men who sought treatment for male infertility were discovered to have low testosterone levels.
Understanding what testosterone does for a man makes recognizing the signs of low testosterone easier. Lets break it down. First, sex. Testosterone stimulates desire for sex and it helps maintain the health of the tissues of the penis that enable erections. Low testosterone results in low drive (libido) and can eventually result in weak or difficult to maintain erections. Testosterone also promotes sperm production. This is why many men with low sperm counts also have low levels of testosterone. Beware, taking testosterone whether in shots or gels or creams tends to shut off sperm production. The benefit of testosterone for sperm is only if the testicles are making it.. Strong muscles and bones require testosterone at healthy levels and men with low testosterone notice no gains in the gym and growing love handles despite diet and exercise. Also deteriorating athletic performance, a general sense of fatigue or falling asleep right after dinner can all be signs of low testosterone, but they are often written off to “stress.” Even clinical depression may be simply due to low testosterone. Men with low testosterone may also have osteopenia or even osteoporosis (thin bones). Testosterone keeps the body skin strong , hairy and with healthy sebaceous glands. Low testosterone can result in a loss of body hair and dry skin. Testosterone stimulates red blood cell production ; therefore, anemia (low blood count) and fatigue can accompany low testosterone. Studies increasingly show that men with low testosterone have higher incidences of heart disease, sugar metabolism problems, and even higher rates of prostate cancer. Mental focus is influenced by testosterone, and men with low testosterone often feel like they have lost their “edge” at work. Even a man’s life span may be shorter if his testosterone is low.
If a man is experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of low testosterone, particularly sexual disfunction, or if he has an abnormal semen test he should seek further testing from his doctor in the form of blood hormone level testing. He should not ignore his symptoms and write them off to “stress.” Several methods for restoring low levels of testosterone exist, including methods to increase a man’s own production of testosterone while protecting his sperm production and fertility.